Torrefied biomass may be new, but torrefaction technology has been around for a very long time. In fact, whole coffee beans are torrefied — roasted in the absence of air at a very high temperature – so they can be ground into coffee. Thistorrefaction technology is now being applied to all kinds of biomass, including agricultural and woody biomass.
During torrefaction, the biomass is dried and heated (in the absence of air) above 200° and below 320° Celsius for less than 30 minutes. Properly torrefied biomass is espresso colored and easily grindable. HM3 Energy densifies the ground torrefied biomass without the use of binders into water resistant briquettes that can be stored and transported without cover.
HM3 Energy TorrB® briquettes have an energy value of approximately 10,000 BTU per pound, very comparable to western (Powder River Basin) coal, but without the toxic mercury, and high sulfur and nitrous oxide emissions of coal. Four years of working with torrefied biomass has convinced us that forest slash has a higher calling than use as hog fuel or raw pellets. We believe the biomass torrefaction industry has the capability to utilize forest waste far more efficiently, with significant environmental and economic benefits.